THE UPND says it has never been for the idea of forming a government of national unity with the ruling PF.
State House press aide Amos Chanda on July 10 emphasised that the opposition UPND had made advances of going into a government of national unity.
But speaking on Prime TV’s Oxygen of Democracy on Monday night, UPND national chairperson Mutale Nalumango stressed that the opposition party was not pushing for a government of national unity.
I have heard that we wanted a government of national unity. Government of national unity! People saw it like we were requesting for a government of national unity but no, it’s a misunderstanding by the PF government that we want a government of national unity and because of that misunderstanding, we have never had dialogue,
“For us as UPND, we have never said we don’t want dialogue and if you go to the situation now where Catholic bishops have taken it upon themselves to see how they can mediate, it’s not for us to start saying this is the way they should go. As chairman of UPND, I am, before the living God, not aware of a discussion among ourselves that we need a government of national unity! If it has been done and [President Edgar Lungu’s press aide] Amos knows who has been approaching him, I’m not aware and we have never had such an item on our agenda that we need a government of national unity. They (PF government) think dialogue means let’s work together [in government]. No! So, I think that Amos Chanda should be clear and tell the people the emissaries that have been sent.”
However, when he featured on the same programme, Chanda pointed out that the UPND had sent overtures for a coalition government.
One publicist, Gregory Mills, who writes international media hinted that…He was one of the principal advisors to the UPND campaign. There is what is called executive privilege [and] they (UPND) can deny, however much they like but an overture has been made – not once [but] several times! The President has said ‘look, I’m not available for that (government of national unity)’ and he is not available. The MMD came during the campaign and decided that they were going to endorse the candidature of President Lungu and so, among the MMD members some people have been appointed ministers. So, there is a framework of cooperation but it’s not a coalition government – it’s a PF government. The PF government has invited some people from the MMD to serve as ministers [and] among them is the Minister of Finance (Felix Mutati),
“There is no coalition government [but] there is a PF government. It (coalition government) is not provided for in the law. [But] there have been some overtures from those who lost elections, the UPND, that unless we dialogue and get to a government of national unity, then there will be mayhem and Armageddon. So, the President (Edgar Lungu) was making it very clear that terrorists cannot push him in the corner in order to come to a negotiating table for a government of national unity. It is inappropriate to pressure the President into a certain position [and] there’s no legal basis for that.”
Meanwhile, Nalumango wondered why a threatened state of public emergency was declared by President Lungu if there was no tension in Zambia.
If the nation didn’t have tension, why are we under a threatened state of emergency? Why? Why should it be? Why should people state that there is no tension and yet declare a threatened state of emergency? Do you need a threatened state of emergency to arrest a criminal? A pure criminal should be arrested under whichever state of the state, unless of course you have a hidden agenda, which could be political for you to make such a declaration. We have adequate laws that should address criminality in our country and so, the state of our nation is not as it should be. The tension is there! Right now, the state of our democracy is an ICU,
“As an opposition political party, we cannot even hold a meeting and it was the same even before the declaration of the threatened state of emergency. Hakainde could not go anywhere to thank the people that voted for him in 2016 and probably that’s why the people of Western Province came out in numbers when he went for the Kuomboka ceremony [in April].”
She also condemned Inspector General of Police Kakoma Kanganja’s statement on restrictions on people’s freedoms, especially during dark hours.
Nalumango said there was need for clarity on what Kanganja meant by dark hours